Snaking many miles along an icy desert road, the heaving line of trucks laden with coal for China has become a daily occurrence in Mongolia’s Gobi. Yesterday (31 October), the monster queue of coal trucks stretched 99 km north from the Chinese border crossing at Gashuun Sukhait. Meetings have already been held with the Chinese Ambassador, now the Road and Transport Development Ministry of Mongolia is planning urgent talks with Beijing to find a way of reducing transit time. The Ministry wants China to increase handling capacity on its side of the border to 1000 coal trucks per day.
Yesterday’s queue consisted of 661 coal trucks; 281 of these are from the Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi mining complex.
The problem had been caused by the sharp increase in coal sales to China. Mongolia has become one of China’s biggest coal suppliers this year following a ban on imports from North Korea, combined with increased demand for coking coal. The Gashuun Sukhait border crossing currently does not have the capacity to deal with the larger number of coal trucks.